Possible World Where We get Everything Right: Prologue

by Gustav Kindergarten (E. John Winner, translator)

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(Note: I would like to thank all those who contributed to the writing of this text, but especially Professors Bored, Rotgrosse and Hemp, standing committee on tenure approval at the Mouse School of Praxis of Living Theoretically, University of Disney, Department of Ideological Sanitation, for providing the motivation for producing this text. Also, word must be said for the patronage provided for completion, generously supplied by the Fund Foundation. One ream of paper goes a long way. I hope they remember that I wrote here on their behalf. Setting aside the question of their impact on the environment, the Fund Corporation makes excellent plastic cars.)

 

Philosophers have long debated whether getting hit on the head with a baseball bat really does leave an impression on the soul. Leopold Von Girdle proved that this is not only inevitable but still no less highly questionable. This radical breakthrough in phenomenological epistemology has left much of the science of knowledge in the dark, where it’s always been. In the following, it will be shown that nothing can be shown, except what shows forth, yet not even this. The methodology is that of presentation of Von Girdle’s position, followed by slavish reiteration of the same. Then the field will be surveyed, and an abstract will be developed apriori to the closing on the sale of the house. At this point a “works cited” page will appear, and then the rest of the book.

 

But first (or rather, after the preceding), we shall introduce the man himself, because someone may mistake him for an interesting conversationalist, or a well-remembered television actor whose name one can’t remember. In this we must confront the current controversies that have arisen concerning Von Girdle’s political commitments in the period in which he was active but not particularly exciting.

 

Leopold Von Girdle was something of a ladies’ man. He particularly favored pink silk panties, and frequently wore them over his slacks, as statement of his faith that the inner could be made outer. Had he lived to be 200, he probably would have sired a hundred sons and daughters by various undergraduate students, as crowning achievement of his long and brilliant career as Professor of Ideology at Ausviedersehen University. He was the oldest member of the faculty until his timely death from cirrhosis of the liver and arteriosclerosis of the cranium, and the car crash didn’t help. He did not live to see his theories garner thousands of disciples from numerous disciplines all of whom writing journal articles explicating the most trivial and most obscure few lines of his texts. Such achievement cannot be measured, only marveled at. Indeed, in 1991 Marvel Comics announced plans for publication of an illustrated version of his early text, Super Hegel: Adventures in the Dialectic (1958), [1] and only decided not to pursue these plans when market research indicated that comic book readers preferred looking at pictures of half-naked Japanese women smoking cigarettes to those of masked German philosophers in tights.

 

The era of Von Girdle’s development of Imprimantics theory is now so distantly passed, it can barely be remembered. Yet names float freely in the play of signs in mass-media. It would be well to remember some of these names, lest we forget that Von Girdle’s writing occurred in a context of fermentation: he especially preferred Molson’s Golden Ale, despite his German heritage. But it is said that he would actually be willing to have someone else buy him a Guiness Extra Stout. [2]

 

Derrida, Foucault, Barthes, Blanchot, Baudrillard, Deleuze, Guattari, Sartre, Lacan, Lyotard – there were as many Frenchmen as couldn’t be wrong.

 

Semiology, Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, Post-Modernism, the French Post Fence Post movement, Situationism, Anarchy in the UK, and several attempts by the Buffalo Bills to win the SuperBowl – the era was ripe.

 

Into this arena strode the diminutive German professor with the big ego and voice of “cracked gold,” as one of his better known students, Jacob Malsprit, once put it. [3]

 

Von Girdle was always reticent to speak, but once paid enough, he would not cease lecturing until threatened by force. Lectures went on and on. At one 1968 marathon in Belgium, Von Girdle declaimed on the topic “Transcendence of the Transcendental Ego as Transcendent Consciousness as Such,” non-stop for thirty hours. Derrida is said to have attended this lecture, but only briefly. Apparently, he was looking for the men’s room and wandered into the lecture hall by mistake. Nonetheless, he was so fascinated with Von Girdle’s thesis that he chose not to mention it – or had it choose not to mention itself. Deleuze merely sent his regards, although these were signed by Guattari. (See Crock’s discussion of the decisive debate between Spudmore and Lannigen that occurred in London about the same time, which was much more interesting. [4]) Belgium declared Von Girdle persona-non-grata, and he never again attempted further dissemination of his ideas in that little country no one ever remembers despite visits to it on summer holiday. (It is difficult to remember even one Olympic gold-medalist from Belgium.)

 

“I remember having a good time, but I don’t remember how much. All I can say is, my wallet was empty when I awoke the next morning.” Thus, Krendel Grendel reports the dinner party held in Berlin in 1988, where Von Girdle pronounced, to the entire faculty of Ausviedersehen University (filling all seven chairs in his apartment and requiring two more to be borrowed from down the hall), his now famous “ontological turn. ” [5] As we will see in our critical discussion, Von Girdle had at last devised a methodology by which it could be determined that the imprint of entities on consciousness could at last be liberated from freedom, thus giving professional theorists carte blanche to write of them as though existent. The full value of this theory grounds the axis of our present discussion, being the plug around which truth as such or not negated must pivot, albeit in a stationary manner. This forms the foundation of contemporary Imprimantics, or it is the foundation as such. It is the degree zero, that which without never could be, the prima causa, the ineluctable first instance, the point of origin before which nothing, of contemporary Imprimantics. As such, it always comes after. It is a moment late in the day of theory, painting grey on grey as Minerva’s owl flies through dusk, only to land on a bird-feeder and finding it empty. “Wo ist das Essen?” [6] Where is the theory of it? It is reminiscent – yet it never remembers. [7]

 

However, for the moment, we must be informed of the scandalous consequence of the mistaking of identities, as occurred in the aftermath of this dinner party. For not all of his Ausviedershen colleagues fully appreciated the gift they were given from the wizened Professor of Ideology. Mark Clark Marsbar, visiting Professor of Petitio Principii, from Toledo Ohio by way of Toronto Canada, with a stopover in Bucharest for a quick champagne brunch (or rather, champagne for brunch), is well-known to be an Anti-Ontologist, as befits a Promiscuousian Perceptions Analyst. At this famous dinner party, while reaching into what he thought his own pants pocket, he slipped his hand into Von Girdle’s pocket, and extracted what appeared to be an old card of membership in the German National Socialist Worker’s Party. Rather than confront Von Girdle directly upon this discovery, he decided to use it politically to discredit the whole Ontological Imprimantics movement that had not yet even formed. Thus, a startled intellectual community found themselves reading Marsbar’s Critique of Nasty Fascist Leftwing Intellectuals as Ontological Imprimanticists (1988), before they even knew what an Ontological Imprimanticist might be.

 

Within the year, Mandingo Quarksore of Standford University published his critical examination of the evidence. In ten thousand pages of close textual reading, Quarksore demonstrated that the implicature of the Nazi membership card could not be taken as final evidence of any misconduct during the Second World War on the part of Von Girdle, because (a) the card was not Von Girdle’s but that of his landlord, a Karl Gringhor (to be precise A. Karl Gringhor, as B. Precise once noted. [8]); (b) The name on the card had been misspelled “Gingrich” (apparently once belonging to a history professor – but that was in the past); (c) There is no textual evidence that Von Girdle had ever theorized the card’s existence; (d) Von Girdle had not yet reached puberty by the collapse of the Third Reich, and in fact delayed this event for three decades, in respect of the wishes of a kindly sadomasochistic elderly aunt. [9] Von Girdle himself remained silent on the whole issue, except for the occasional public denials of any wrong-doing and pleas for pity. Later, on further investigation, it would prove that Von Girdle had found the card in his apartment building hallway and picked it up to use to scrape tartar from his teeth; and even in this he was just following orders. [10]

 

Still, the damage was done. Throughout the period during which he wrote his main text on Ontological Imprimantics, Possible World Where We Get Everything Right (1990), Von Girdle worked under the onus of Suspicion – Vera Suspicion, who lived in the flat above his. Once a notorious organizer of the countercultural movement Feminist Corpsegrinders, Suspicion had rented the flat just to keep watch over Von Girdle’s activities for any sign of nascent Nazism.

 

Her research paid off in healthy publication contracts, when her writings shook the intellectual world awake by her discovery that Von Girdle had read the texts of Karl Marx. (11]

 

The discovery that Von Girdle had access to Marx’s texts dismayed many of his stalwart conservative supporters. The chief exception was Mark Clark Marsbar, who admitted that he was delighted that anything at all offensive to somebody could be said about Von Girdle. [12] Von Girdle himself remained characteristically quiet on the matter, merely vomiting whenever it was mentioned during interviews. [13]

 

However, continuing to disappoint all expectations for a promising career as a materialist dialectician, Von Girdle, upon summons before the U.S. House Committee on Scary Academic Radicals (January 1991), at last begged the question, as did frequently his theories, whether there might be more or less within the text of Marx than had been previously remarked. Indeed, his copy of the Complete Works of Karl Marx [14] was at last opened to public view; only then was it discovered that the pages had been removed, and the binding used to collect old sticky notes. (There was thus nothing to remark, or rather, no marks to re; except for one Deutschemark; but, being a photocopy, it was non-negotiable.)

 

If the intellectual community could bear any more surprises, it certainly bore this one. Von Girdle, boring scholars world-wide, became internationally acclaimed for standing on the precipice of a major breakthrough in critical readings of Karl Marx – the text of materialism found de-materialized. But just as he was about to embark on this reading at considerable expense to the trustees of his University – he died on holiday in the Caribbean.

 

Between the investigations and the expense accounts, between the denials and the lack of denial, between the vomit and the pus, we find the absence of meaning. It was – and then it isn’t anymore. It would be if it could be, but it will not so it won’t. That is the aporia of the aforementioned confronted with the afterthought.

 

Henceforth, and thus always already retroactively, the political will be elided as a means of evasion. The “political” what? But this cannot be spoken. We fail to confront what we do not know, and as for what we do know, we don’t know that either. This abyssal being is cause for a healthy despair: despair is a mood that brings forth the new by way of psychotropic medications.

 

But the text festers in our memory, imprinted on our brains like a thousand points of light, or red-hot points of pins poked into our eyes. There never was, and there never could be, but there is still: we have the text before us. Thus, reason remembers if for no other reason than the sake of memory.

 

Main Text: Possible World Where We Get Everything Right: Critical Commentary as Intertextual Polysemy in the Voices of a Pre-Textual Meta-Narrative of Ontological Imprimantics. [15]

 

On the path of Imprimantics, having always already been there like ducks in a dried riverbed pecking for worms that don’t exist, Von Girdle’s text allays, excites, refurbishes, then disappoints. But this is merely to say, that it never catches its train of thought. Thus, it (dis)appoints. This (dis)appointment must be a strategy of the text itself.

 

“The first of all possible worlds is always already inevitably the last, because, were it to be left unfinished, there could be no ‘because.’ Yet this finishing, as an ending, is always incomplete. There is remainder – to be sure, there is always remainder. Sometimes there is just too much damn remainder. But to consciousness, all is perceived as sewage from the polluted river of hypostatized life. It is always there – was it ever there? ‘There’ remains unquestioned, privileging the ‘here’ when ‘here’ is the ‘there’ for the ‘there’ that is here. Yet the questioning concerning consciousness always begins ‘what’s there?’ A trivial question, seemingly. Surely, we should discover ourselves there, and so ask that question. but consider the ontological imprint in the inevitable answer: ‘Knock knock.’ ‘Who’s there?’ ‘Wad he.’ ‘Wad he who?’ ‘Wad he knows.’ (Transliteration: ‘What he knows:’ ‘Was er weiß’ in the original German – translator. [16]) Such are the wandering thoughts of the common consciousness, pressed into the service of momentary dispensation to reiteration of immature renderings of sour humor. But nothing funny is going on here – ‘the Wad’ now stands revealed. It is not expected. It (dis)appoints. Thus, its beckoning us back into our sanity, is truly in-sane.” [17]

 

The notable elision here is the abuse of the possessive, made known by not being imprinted, yet surely being ‘said.’ “who’s there?” Or should we say, “whose there.” Surely Von Girdle may have meant this, had he been presenting this as a paper to one of those dreary academic conferences usually held in Chicago. New York makes better pizza, and we are reading between cities on a highway to the high way of Imprimantics. The question thus is, is the question a question or is it an answer? If the latter, there can be no former, and our ending bites our tail as the tale told and swallowed. Answer, and there is no question: no question, no answer. Yet – there are words on the page.

 

In-sane,” because to be in consciousness is to be truly sane, to be authentically sane. Thus in-sanity is sanity rediscovered in the search for some hermeneutics of one’s own mind as split personality.

 

This is the promise on the horizon of what we will now call Critical Ontological Imprimantics, carrying forward, yet going beyond Von Girdle’s theory, another source of academic ideological identification for a subversive minority of disgruntled intellectuals. Eventually, all will be in-sane. The very promise of consciousness itself. From this point on, reason rules! But it must rule by indirection, as a ruler, not a king, but a yard-stick for measuring other players at the forty-yard line of the dialogical playing field of academic discourse. Those who cannot do, teach; those who cannot teach, criticize. Those who actually do, well, they’re too busy to go to college.

 

“‘The Wad’ who’s there.” “‘The Wad’ whose there.” Read, as a personality, heard as a possession. And yet, as the poet Milos Carpotunnel noted, still “a herd of red.” [17] We have entered a grey area of self-nullification. As we all know (following Derrida, following Sartre, following Heidegger, following Husserl, following Nietzsche, following Hegel, and finding Schopenhauer instead, then moving backwards as forwards to Kant, and putting Descartes before the horse). But then there is the Self, and there is the Other. What we don’t know is, which of them pays rent for the allotted space? Von Girdle here announces it: it is none other, and no Other, than “the Wad.” “The Wad” possesses “There.” We couldn’t get around this even if we drove above the speed limit. For wherever we go, it would be “There.” And “There” belongs to “the Wad.” The calm serenity discoverable in this vague generalization of a universal notion is disquieting; one need never pay rent again.

 

Should we now, in deferance to this “Wad” be rid of quotation marks? I think so – they are too scary. Away with them! Let us have – the Wad!

 

Besides, the Wad is always on our page, and our page is always There. Therefore, the Wad owns our page. The text is always on loan, and the library charges late-return fees. Let the Wad pay the bill.

 

Thus, as we open our text on Ontological Imprimantics. The first issue to strike us is that ontology is never of the ontos of the world, but of possible worlds, each or many within a given text. As we read, we come upon the Wad; but the Wad belongs There, on the page as (dis)appointment. We thought we were Realists, but we are Nominalists by inadvertence. But what is a name but a Wad? That is, a Wad of consciousness, for conscious, by conscious, not perishing from this earth. For every reader of every page, the Wad reassures us that no page can ever be read, for knowing the Wad we shall not know it, only by reading it. Thus, the language of Imprimantics as theory of language. In this we can see, it is surely in-sane.

– – – – –

[1] Red Hot Entertainment News Tonight, May 1, 1993. By the date of publication, this was already old news. The following year, RHENT ceased publication.

[2] Bud Weisser, Drinks of the Intellectual Stars, 1992, 37.

[3] Malsprit, Dunderkopf, 1988, 188.

[4] Ben Crock, Spudmore in Europe: History of Ideological Historicism, 1999.

[5] Grendel, Spurious Truth: Phenomenology of Ideology as Critical Theory of Semiological Deconstruction of Eternal Recurrence as the Same, 1990, 1089.

[6] Frequently asked by Von Girdle dinner guests; for some reason, his dinners always consisted of a cardboard replica of a roast duck.

[7] See Von Girdle’s discussion on the necessity of the end always coming finally, in Ideology of Western Civilization, Vol. 30, 1972, 11139-11140, footnote M.

[8] Posthumous conversation with the author.

[9] But see Burt Bubbles, If You’ve Got the Time, I’ve Got the Bier, down 19 points in 1992.

[10] See: Quarksore, Fascist Anti-Fascists, 1989; and the same author’s In a Dive of Ducks to the Pond Basin: The Von Girdle Affair, 1990.

[11] See: Suspicion, “Von Girdle’s Secret Library,” Von Girdle Notes, 5:12, April 1990, 312-715; and: Revisiting Von Girdle’s Secret Library,” The New Ontological Imprimanticist, 75:50, May 1990, 520-890; and even: “Visiting Von Girdle’s Secret Library Again as If You Had Never Benn There,” Precocious Phenomenology Journal of Post-Modern Criticism and Tourist Attractions, 17:1, June, 1990, 899-2002.

[12] Marsbar, “I Am Always Right,” Journal of Absurd Premises, Spirit of 76 Trombones Issue, December 1990, 676-6767 – call between 6 and 7.

[13] Sorely McSorely, “Interviewing Von Girdle who rents from Nazis and reads Marx’s Texts,” Chronicle of Lower Education, 53637:82723634, December 7, 1990, 1-2.

[14] Rael Martins translation, 1960.

[15] Published in Harvard while nobody was looking.

[16] Translator’s note: We will continue to translate the German “Was” as “Wad,” designating le differance between the ‘what’ that we commonly know and the ‘What’ we only uncommonly know. But we here reproduce the original German for clarification:

Knock Knock.

Wer ist da?

Was er.

Was er Wer?

Was er weiß.

A Shorter form of this occurs later in Von Girdle’s text: “Knock Knock.” “Wurst?” But a strict translation doesn’t make any sense in English. Or, as the Germans say, Nicht eine Wurst

[17] PWWWGER, Vol.1, 1112.

[18] “Ring Around the Rosie,” 1997.

 

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